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Nikolova Named Coughlin Professor

Carroll School of Management Assistant Professor of Marketing Hristina Nikolova (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

By Ed Hayward | Chronicle Staff

Published: Dec. 9, 2015

Carroll School of Management Assistant Professor of Marketing Hristina Nikolova has been named the Diane Harkins Coughlin and Christopher J. Coughlin Sesquicentennial Assistant Professor, making her the most recent faculty member to be recognized by a University-wide initiative to support early-career professors.

Funding for the professorships comes from the University’s Light the World campaign’s Sesquicentennial Challenge, which is designed to provide financial support for the research and scholarship of junior faculty.

Nikolova, who joined the Carroll School in 2014, conducts research into joint decision-making, interpersonal relationships, consumer self-control and health promotion. She earned her doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

“I feel extremely honored, grateful and very happy to receive the Coughlin Sesquicentennial Assistant Professorship,” Nikolova said. “I was both surprised and humbled. This means a great deal to me and it motivates me to work even harder every day in both my research and teaching.”

The Coughlin Sesquicentennial Professorship was made possible by the financial support of Diane Harkins Coughlin ’74 and Christopher J. Coughlin ’74, P’06, ’07, who both studied in the Carroll School, as did two of their three children.

The couple, who have supported prior University initiatives, were quick to respond to the Sesquicentennial Challenge, pledging $1 million to endow the early-career faculty post and generating a $500,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor who has pledged to support as many as 10 endowed chairs for assistant professors in schools and colleges throughout the University.

 “Our family is thrilled to have Hristina Nikolova as our inaugural recipient,” Christopher Coughlin said. “She is truly a rising star in the marketing field, and we’re proud knowing that we can have a significant impact on her research and on her ability to mentor today’s Carroll School students.”

Carroll School Powers Family Dean Andy Boynton said the Coughlins’ gift represents an investment in the development of early-career faculty.

“Recognizing newly hired professors like Hristina is critical to the development of our world-class faculty in the Carroll School and across the University,” said Boynton. “As researchers, our faculty create new knowledge. As teachers, mentors and advisors, they inspire our students on a daily basis. I’m grateful for the Coughlin family’s generous gift to the Sesquicentennial Challenge, which is an important faculty-building initiative.”

Additional Sesquicentennial Challenge faculty include Lynch School of Education Assistant Professor David Miele, of the Department of Counseling, Developmental and Educational Psychology, whose chair is the result of a gift from University Trustee John E. Buehler Jr. ’69 and family; Assistant Professor of Political Science Jennifer Erickson, through a gift from Susan and Michael White ’74; and Assistant Professor of History Penelope Ismay, with support from University Trustee Robert J. Cooney ’74 and family.

Nikolova said the financial support that comes with the professorship will help advance her research into consumer behavior, which she hopes will contribute to consumer welfare, public policy initiatives and marketing strategies.

“My primary research area examines joint decision-making by pairs of consumers – such as spouses, friends and co-workers – a topic that is currently under-researched in marketing but that has tremendous importance given the frequency with which we make decisions with other people on a regular basis,” Nikolova said.